Freescale Semi & Cirrus Logic Team to Develop Solutions for Growing Digital Utility Meter Market

September 22, 2010 by Jeff Shepard

Freescale Semiconductor and Cirrus Logic are working together to provide a proven, turnkey reference design for the growing digital utility meter market. The reference design pairs Cirrus Logic’s CS5463 analog front end (AFE) chip with Freescale’s 8-bit AC60 microcontrollers (MCUs), giving smart meter original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) a superior solution that allows for increased performance, design flexibility and lower system costs.

Smart power meters provide an economical way to measure energy usage in residential settings, provide real-time pricing based on demand and minimize energy consumption during peak periods. This enables utilities to reduce their need to build more electrical generation capacity.

Leveraging Cirrus Logic’s long history and expertise in mixed-signal solutions for residential utility metering applications, the company says the CS546X family provides best-in-class energy measurement accuracy for next-generation smart grid devices. As power quality and grid efficiency efforts gain momentum, Cirrus Logic states that energy measurement chips benefit utility industry customers by generating the high-quality energy measurement data needed to deliver on-demand energy usage information accurately.

"Across all markets, customers value the superior measurement accuracy capabilities and cost effectiveness of our products," said Tom Stein, Vice President and General Manager, Cirrus Logic Energy, Exploration and Lighting Division. "Teaming with Freescale to develop smart meter reference designs will give OEMs a ready-to-use system to complete designs quickly, with significant performance enhancements, design flexibility, lower system costs and faster calibration than SOCs can provide today."

The Freescale Kinetis portfolio of MCUs gives OEMs the flexibility to choose among a variety of MCUs that are ideal for their system. Freescale’s MQX real-time operating software and algorithms run on a dedicated digital signal processor and are programmable to run on the MCU. Freescale and Cirrus Logic plan additional single-phase meter reference designs in the future that feature new AFE and MCU products.

"We believe Freescale’s extensive portfolio of processors with the range of on-board flash memory size, 90 nanometer Thin Film Storage technology and metering-specific features built in will give our customers the ultimate flexibility to address various meter types and topologies and provide them with a ready platform for their smart energy products," said Aiden Mitchell, Director of Industrial and Multi-market MCUs for Freescale’s Microcontroller Solutions Group.

Freescale Kinetis MCUs and Cirrus Logic CS546X energy measurement ICs are available now.